Hi, I'm Dr. Molly with Your Goals Physical Therapy. In this video, I have a funny story. I'm gonna kind of tell on myself a little bit. I ended up straining both my Pec muscles, not just one, but both. Let's just go for the Guster here. I wanted to share with you how I got past that in just a few days. So we'll start this story off by saying I had one of the best chest workouts that I had had in a long time. I was able to have a personal best with the number of pushups I was able to do.
The whole workout was great. When I got up from that, I was feeling like I was a rock star.
Later that day I took my kids to a birthday party. And at that birthday party, they had a water slide. It's a big blow up slide that has water on it. They come down the slide and end up in a pool of water. Well, when my daughter did that, she was not so happy about having her face wet. So I could see that she was about to panic. I reached down to go grab her. And for whatever reason, as I'm reaching down to pick her up, I over tightened my chest muscles. I caused a muscle spasm. I could feel it as I was going down, I was like, “why is that tightening so hard?” And I picked her up and just her weight plus that over contraction, my chest muscles went into a massive spasm and hurt the whole rest of the day. Every time I went to pick my daughter up, I had to wince because I just knew it was gonna hurt.
As I'm up and you're moving around and you talk to other people, I was able to ignore it for the most part. But it did not go away, it didn't subside. It might have even been a little bit worse at the end of the day. It was just so sore. When I was at home, trying to relax at the end of the day. With the kids watching a show, I went and got myself a glass of wine, recline on the couch and tried to hold that glass of wine up and Nope, wasn't gonna be able to enjoy that at all. Even holding the glass hurt like just trying to bring the cup up to my lips. Oh, so it was so frustrating.
Anyway, I put that away and then I was like, okay, I'm gonna go grab ice packs, put that on my chest for about 10 minutes.
Then after that I laid down on the floor and did some chest stretches, so gentle chest stretches. And so how did I do those? Again, this is the end of my day. I'm not trying to stand at a doorway and count. So my cheat was that I laid on the floor. Laying down and I bring my arms up into a Y. So I get a good stretch through my shoulder. I just let my arms rest because at that point, that was a pretty significant stretch.
Now let's say that I was actually able to rest my arms onto the floor without a problem, but I've worked with clients where that would've been too much. One way to get around that is to put a pillow down on the floor so that when your arm is coming back, it just rests on the pillow. So you're able to actually relax your Pec muscles.
After doing a couple of stretches with my arms up in a Y, then I did a couple with my arms straight out shoulder length and I just let them rest on the floor. So they got a good pull. I didn't even set a timer. I just let them go. I know it was over a minute and that's kind of the idea as you wanna at least hold it for a minute. and after stretching for about five minutes probably, again I'm not really counting, I'm just letting my arms relax onto the floor.
I iced it again, thankfully by the next morning, most of the discomfort that I had the previous day was gone, but I still had pain when I had to pick up my daughter, which when they're three, remarkable you have to do a lot. But I was able to do it with mobilizations and strengthening exercises and so I was able to help myself fully recover within a couple days.
I'm very thankful to say that as it is now, I will not be going into the next weekend with the same cramping and chest pain agony that I was having at the end of the weekend. I have iced every day to help with the inflammation or irritation.
Nothing was super swollen, but just touching my chest muscles was tender. There was a little bit of soreness and swelling in that muscle from the muscle spasms.
One thing to note is that because I am a physical therapist and this is what I deal with. I was able to determine that there's no bruising, so I wasn't worried that I actually tore anything. Despite the amount of pain I wasn't worried. I didn't have a whole lot of swelling, like there wasn't an actual pocket of fluid. So again, I wasn't worried that I needed to go to the doctor. One of the reasons that I would tell somebody that they needed to go see a professional was if you see bruising, or if there's a dramatic amount of swelling, you can visibly see swelling after you have an incident like that. You need to go talk to somebody because something could have torn.
But again, in my case, there was no bruising. There was no nothing, it was just tender to touch it, and it was uncomfortable to lift something. In my case it was my daughter. With those things, it's more of a muscle strain than anything that was catastrophic, where you would need to see a medical professional emergently.
Let's say that that didn't resolve for you. Like you're looking at this video and you're like, “well, I just did the same thing and how do I get past this?”
I would ice and I mean I ice several times, for about 10 or 15 minutes. Actually the ice felt really good. So I kept doing that over and over again. You do need to give yourself a break. You can't leave ice on continuously. You can do 10 minutes every hour, but you need to let that breath, you know, you can't have ice on permanently, because you'll end up with frostbite or some other tissue issues from the ice being on you for too long.
Then the gentle stretching and if you know, gentle strengthening exercises, then once you get rid of most of your pain. If you start with that, it'll help pump the rest of the irritation out of the muscle. So all that fluid and inflammation that's in there, if you know, gentle strengthening exercises, then that helps pump the rest of that out.
But if you have any questions or you need help deciphering some of this. This is what I do, all the time. If that is something that you're suffering from and you've tried the stretching, you've tried ice and you're still dealing with this nagging pain and you can't get back to your chest workouts the way you want to. You can't get back to holding glasses at the end of your day, without having a lot of discomfort. Then come and see me and we'll get to the root cause of what it is and get that out.
This isn't something that you should have to deal with for months and months.This should be something that can be pretty well resolved. In just a few short weeks, if not a few short days. If you wanna see if this is something that I can help you with, I offer free discovery visits. So that's a 20 minute conversation where we get to ask each other questions and get to know each other a little bit and to make sure that I can actually help you achieve what you're trying to, or if maybe you need to go someplace else because I help people figure that out as well.
Maybe you would just prefer a quick phone call. I will set up a link and you can just use that link and set up a time and we'll chat over the phone. Just a quick little consult. Again, both of those options are free. Just ways to get you a little bit more information about your specific injury and your specific situation. We all get injured and sometimes we all need a little bit of extra help.
I hope you're having a delightful day and bye!
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WE HELP ACTIVE ADULTS OVERCOME THEIR ACHES AND PAINS TO GET THEM BACK TO THEIR FAVORITE ACTIVITIES WITHOUT MEDICATION, INJECTIONS OR SURGERIES.
Dr. Molly McDonald